Having post-concussion syndrome is not just something you have for a few days/weeks. It's something that lasts way longer, and I can say it is/was a difficult journey, the hardest one of my life. It's not easy to experience post-concussion symptoms every day. I have recognized different stages and would love to share my six stages of concussion recovery with you.
My six stages of concussion recovery
Stage 1: Week 1 - “Take some rest and everything will be fine”
Right after the accident, I was able to go home. I didn't fall on my head, and only my ankle was hurting. I had a weird feeling, but I could function as normal and didn't worry about it. I thought it must be the adrenaline. The next day I went to work and acted like nothing was going on. I remember I did this for the whole week, and by the end of the week, a colleague told me that I made some mistakes. I never made mistakes, this wasn't normal for me, and my colleagues were surprised as well. I went home a bit earlier on Friday to take some rest, and I told them I would be back on Monday.
Stage 2: Week 2 - 4 - What is going on with me?
On Monday, I wasn't able to go to work, and I told my boss I needed one more week to get some more rest. My neck and shoulders were hurting, and my lower back as well. What was going on? I went to my doctor, and he told me to take a rest, and after a few weeks, I should be back to normal. He didn't mention anything about a concussion or whiplash. I felt like he didn't take me seriously and just sent me home with some calming pills because I felt so restless.
After a few weeks, I still felt restless; I couldn't handle things like I normally did. Even doing groceries was really hard. There are so many impressions in a supermarket. Lights, sounds, talking, moving people.. why did I never notice that before? How was I ever going to be able to find my products without being distracted by all those impressions?
Stage 3: 1-3 months - Why do my post-concussion symptoms not go away?
I still didn't know what was going on with me. I went to my doctor again after a month, and he told me I had whiplash. Whiplash? It was something I heard of but didn't know exactly what it was. Get more rest was his advice. I went home and started to search on Google for more answers. After 30 minutes, I felt overwhelmed and closed my laptop; Google wasn't my best friend. I decided that it was better to rest and to believe my doctor. He told me it could take up to 3 months before I recovered. I waited until the 3-month mark, but when I was there, nothing changed.
Stage 4: 3 - 12 months - Waiting Waiting Waiting
I was getting frustrated with this slow recovery. Am I doing anything wrong? Should I change something? What if I start working out again, doing some exercises? I tried it, and after 5 minutes, I needed to lay down for the rest of the day. I still didn't go back to my work and was sick of being home all the time.
I went to my doctor again, and he sent me to a physiotherapist. I tried it for a few months, but it didn't help at all; this was not what was going to help me. I stopped the treatment.
This stage was one of the hardest stages of these six stages of concussion recovery. Waiting, waiting, and waiting, not knowing what to do to get better.
Stage 5: 1 year - 2 years - Is there a post-concussion treatment? Or is this it?
After a year, I was done with waiting and decided to look for options myself. Until this time, I still didn't hear anyone say that it could be a concussion. So I never looked for treatments focused on post-concussion symptoms. I don't know why I never linked a concussion to whiplash myself, I never read about it, so I guess I just couldn't know. I wish I knew it earlier so I could find the right post-concussion treatment.
After almost two years, I spoke to a doctor who told me that I could sustain a concussion from a whiplash. I never knew this, and I started searching again on Google. I found a list with symptoms that comes from a concussion and another list with symptoms that come from a whiplash. I recognized all the symptoms of a concussion.
See the list below:
Concussion Symptoms Whiplash Symptoms
Stage 6: 2 years - 4 years - My post-concussion symptoms improved
I barely felt improvements during my first two years. But I finally knew it was a concussion so I could start looking for the right treatment. I did neurofeedback therapy, went to a psychologist, did interval training, did lots of cognitive exercises, went to a neuro optometrist, changed my diet, did lots of yoga, and finally, I felt improvements.
There is just no quick fix when it comes to improving your post-concussion symptoms. All injuries are different, which makes it even harder. But trying things and see what works for you is the best thing you can do when you're looking for the best post-concussion treatment. Just waiting and accepting that this is it is just not how I am. I am always looking for more therapies that can help in my recovery. I truly hope you're doing the same. I know it's not always easy to keep hope, but I promise there always is hope, and there are so many things to try!